Displacement and the Perception of Space: Internally Displaced Persons in Khartoum
Displacement could be identified as a disruption of the everyday dynamics; a sudden change which causes a profound questioning of what may have seemed self-evident (Heynen and Loeckx 1998). Displacement may manifest in manifold ways ranging from physical displacement to more complex modes of mental and metaphorical displacements. The discussion I choose to bring to the fore revolves around the perception of space in a condition of displacement. Space, here, is not restricted to the domestic space, it is also not limited to the physical space; space here becomes the flexible stage, the constantly shifting platform upon which the various manifestations of displacement take place. In this paper, I choose to investigate how space is perceived on one hand, and how it is used, appropriated and transformed on the other. Therefore, not only am I dealing with questions of physical displacement (migrations) in defining the plight of the southern Sudanese Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who have arrived at the borders of a capital city (Khartoum), but also with the complex multitude of changes in the social, cultural and economic environment which has caused them to design their own distinct ways of perceiving and interacting with space; drawing their stand-points of resistance towards an all encompassing forceful urban environment that is in everyway different from the lands and cultures from which they were forced to flee. All these different and complex ways in which displacement manifests cause us to pay a particular interest to space as a stage that witnesses the phenomenon.